Engaging the UserEngaging the User
Engage Your Users
No this isn't the long sought after DIY fix for making the MMC in the N-Gage hot swapable, it's a few ideas that could improve the value for money on the Game Cards.
Let's face it, with an RRP approaching £35, it's a lot of money to spend on a game - and yes it is a comparable price point to other Gaming Systems, but why not go a few more steps and make them more than a game. There is a lot of spare space on the MMC, so let's see how we could use this.
How obvious is this one? When you get the N-Gage, there are six default wallpapers installed for on the phone screen. These are regular jpeg images, of around 30K each, at 176x144. it wouldn't be difficult to have some 'official' wallpapers on each MMC of the game. Imagine getting the Lara Croft Game, and being able to have her as the wallpaper? There are enough marketing images for each game that could be scaled down.
The same principle goes for ringtones, be they midi files (sorry, polyphonic ringtones), wave files or MP3 files. Once we start getting some movie tie-ins, then having appropriate ring tones and samples would be obvious. Personally I have the ring tone from "Our Man Flint" (which was also in Austin Powers." Yet again something simple to add into an MMC, which adds a tremendous amount of value for money.
Why not go all the way and have theme files on the MMC game cards? Yes the N-Gage as it stands doesn't have a facility for themes, but it's a fair bet that the N-Gage 2 will be powered by Symbian OS 7.0s which does have this support. So do some forward planning and have them on the cards in production just now.
Try and Buy - Nokia's Shareware
The Nokia 6600 ships with a variety of applications on the MMC under Nokia's "Try and Buy" scheme, where if you like the demo of an application, you can buy the full version online.
How difficult would it be to have one or two level demos of similar MMC Games on the card you buy - or even appropriate java midlets. For example the Splinter Cell MMC could carry a demo of the Splinter Cell Java midlet, a rolling demo (via a real player video file) of Operation Ashen, and the first two levels of Red Faction.
Yes, you'll need to assign some programmers for the demos - but you're advertising to a market already happy with their N-Gage, so the hardest part (getting the right message to the right person) is already done.
Hotkey From Phone Screen
Finally, my biggest recommendation. Pushing in the Cursor Pad on the Phone screen starts the Contacts application. Which is great on a normal phone, but on a games machines.... why not have this push in click start the game card application?
Add a small text file in the root directory of the card, containing the path of the file to be launched (eg e:\System\Apps\Tonyhawk\Tonyhawk.app). Call it autolaunch.txt. And if it's not present, the click-in reverts to the contacts file.
They're Called Multi Media Cards for a Reason
If the N-Gage is advertised as it should be - as a multimedia machine capable of games, sounds, video, and applications - then all the above make sense. It benefits the end-user (increasing sales), it gives the N-Gage something different compared to the Gameboy Advance (which means more sales) and it lets the N-Gage owner discover what else their phone can do. And it's at that point that word of mouth kicks in and helps... increase sales.
And in the end, it's the number of units shifted (be it Game Cards or the N-Gage itself) that counts.
Published by Ewan Spence at 20:24 UTC, August 23rd